The Origami Of Everyday Things

from the it's-everywhere... dept

For those of you who think of origami as the simple art of folding paper (er, that’s what it is, isn’t it?), this article suggests that there’s a new found interest in using the principles of origami in designing many other products. Apparently, the ideas from folding paper are now being incorporated into water bottles, satellites and automobile crumple zones. Who knew a little folded crane could do so much? The article even mentions the idea of a “folding house”. Someone wake up Bucky Fuller and give him a piece of paper…

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Comments on “The Origami Of Everyday Things”

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dorpus says:

Orthonormal Oregon

As this Japanese web site acknowledges, origami seems to have been independently invented by Europeans — there is a Venetian illustration from the late 15th century of a boat made out of folded paper. Also in John Webster’s “Duchess of Malfi” from 1614, there is the appearance of a “paper prison” apparently corresponding to the “balloon” of Japanese origami (invented in the 19th century).

In animals, brains are like a sheet of neurons folded up into a wrinkly shape to minimize volume while preserving most of the surface area.

Origami is a dying art form in Japan, one of those traditional arts like karate that Westerners care about more than the Japanese themselves. Just like Chinese diabolos, which are popular among Western jugglers but mostly unknown in China today. And by the way, “Chinese Checkers” do not come from China at all — the game really comes from Germany, where it was originally known as Stern-Halma, but was converted to “Chinese Checkers” by a savvy American marketer. Ditto for chili peppers in Asian cuisine, chili peppers are not Asian at all.

But for the mathematical masochists among us, is there a way to combine string figures with origami, along with maybe rings, beads, and klein bottles?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Orthonormal Oregon


> one of those traditional arts like karate that
> Westerners care about more than the Japanese
> themselves.

Another one is Bunraku, which is a traditional Japanese, lifesize puppet. I read in “Dogs and Demons” that cultural centers had to ask Westerners to come reintroduce the art to native Japanese since it had nearly died out domestically.

This is a good, controversial book written by an American living in Japan for decades, who is a a true Japanophile, but thinks they are losing a lot of their native culture.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Orthonormal Oregon

Yup, we’re in a world where Western anthropologists often know more aboriginal cultures than the natives themselves. Western eco-types usually care more about the environment than aboriginals, who burn or hunt things as they see fit. Trash disposal is an artifact of modern civilization.

Of course, the same thing is happening to Western civilization as well — folk dancing is more popular among city slickers than country people, city slickers eat more “natural” or “authentic” cooking than country people, etc. Entire tourist industries are constructed around the idea of providing cultural authenticity to city slickers who have been brainwashed through their education to believe that they lead fake, hollow lives.

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